PLASMA TV REVIEWS

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Adrienne Maxwell Posted: Jan 23, 2006 0 comments
Router-free multimedia TV.

Media servers are a hot commodity right now. Almost every major manufacturer believes they've developed the easiest, best way to stream the music and photos from your computer via a network to your home entertainment system. While this is definitely a cool product category for the network inclined, there are those people who don't have a home network and, more importantly, don't want one. (Yes, it's hard to believe, but it's true.) Should we deny them easy access to vacation photos or their favorite party playlist on their TV?

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Jan 10, 2006 Published: Jan 11, 2006 0 comments
Dipping into the black (level).

Despite my lauding of projectors, it seems like the only question people ask me about TVs is, "What's the best plasma?" I usually respond, as you would imagine, with a detailed description of the strengths and weaknesses of several brands, what that means to the viewer, and a cost/performance analysis. All the while, I'm trying to ignore the bored and distracted look on my questioner's face. "Yeah, but who's the best?" he'll ask. "The Patriots," I reply. At this point, the average questioner's face scrunches up to resemble the average raisin. In an effort to finish the conversation so that I can be left alone to eat my burrito in peace (mmm, Chipotle), I tell them: "Panasonic for black level; Pioneer for processing." There, I said it. There are plenty of companies that make great-looking plasmas, but these guys are the leaders. They shine with regard to their respective specialties but don't screw up the rest of the display. What I love about this business, though, is that nothing is stagnant—everything advances. Just last month, I reviewed a Panasonic plasma that went a long way in improving the company's major processing shortcomings. While its black level was still good, its scaling improved for a much better-looking image overall. So, it's Pioneer's turn. Their processing, on all levels, has been good in the past. Their black levels, on the other hand, have left much to be desired. I was told that Pioneer's past few models have improved black levels. We'll see.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Dec 21, 2005 0 comments
A "budget" Panasonic plasma HDTV?

I must admit, I was a bit skeptical. Or perhaps wary is a better description. Thirteen months ago, in these very pages, I reviewed a stellar Panasonic plasma, the TH-42PX25. It had the best black level and contrast ratio to date for a plasma. We even gave it our Best Flat-Panel Display RAVE Award for 2005. It was $6,000. A mere year later, its replacement model—the TH-42PX500U—has almost identical specs and is $3,500. My penchant for sushi notwithstanding, I was expecting something fishy.

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Joel Brinkley Posted: Dec 11, 2005 0 comments

Remember the day when plasma televisions were unadorned monitors? You had to connect it to a VCR to watch conventional television, and of course HDTV required another outboard tuner box. Any sound would have to come from your own sound system. Plasmas had no speakers or amplification of any kind. Just a screen and a picture. With no features to speak of, these plasmas had remote controls that offered four or five buttons, and that's all. And for that you paid $8,000 or more.

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Lawrence E. Ullman Posted: Sep 18, 2005 0 comments

If you haven't shopped at Costco in a while, you might not know that the giant membership-warehouse chain now accounts for a sizeable chunk of U.S. retail HDTV sales. Most stores prominently display an assortment of HD-capable TVs, ranging from 32-inch direct-view TVs to 70-inch rear-projectors. But pride of place belongs to the sexy (and highly profitable) flat-panel LCD and PDP (plasma) displays, which are mounted up high and carefully positioned to be visible to shoppers from most of the sales floor. (The new industry buzzword for plasma displays, which you'll find in the remainder of this report, is PDP, for plasma display panel.—Ed.)

Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Aug 30, 2005 Published: Aug 31, 2005 0 comments
LCD and plasma go head to head. . .sort of.

The 42-inch display size has become a battleground of sorts between liquid crystal displays (LCDs) and plasma displays. Ironically, the older technology, LCD, is the relative newcomer here. Prices on both sides have dropped quickly. You can now buy an HDTV (qualified by both resolution and the integration of a tuner) for just a little more than the price of an EDTV just over a year ago. LG Electronics is one of the only companies with their feet on both sides of this issue (the other biggie being their across-the-Han rival, Samsung). LG also makes an LCD in a 42-inch size, which is rather rare. Most are either smaller or slightly larger. There are lots of questions and misinformation about these technologies, so hopefully we can clear a lot of that up. This isn't a true head-to-head Face Off; let me tell you why.

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Thomas J. Norton Posted: Apr 10, 2005 Published: Apr 11, 2005 0 comments

By itself, the Pioneer Elite PRO-505PU, the company's premier plasma display, is just a video monitor with a DVI input. But it's only sold in a package with the Pioneer Elite PRO-R05U Media Receiver. When linked together by two cables (one of them a DVI video connection, the other to send control signals to and from the panel), the two pieces form an integrated system, designated the Elite PRO-1120HD Plasma Display System.

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Peter Putman Posted: Mar 13, 2005 0 comments

Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Mitsubishi once manufactured plasma monitors. (Okay, it wasn't that long ago or far away, it just seems like it!) But while the company seemingly abandoned the business in the late 1990s, it managed to keep its foot in the door by working out an agreement with NEC to sell plasma sets using NEC panels. The PD-5050 is the latest model to come along; even though NEC sold out to Pioneer early last year, Mitsubishi is still selling 50-inch and 61-inch plasma products from the same factory.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Feb 15, 2005 Published: Feb 16, 2005 0 comments
The power of processing.

Note: the other TVs in this Face Off include the Panasonic TH-42PD25 Plasma HDTV, and V inc. Vizio P42HD Plasma HD Monitor.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Feb 15, 2005 Published: Feb 16, 2005 0 comments
Black level: the revenge.

Note: the other TVs in this Face Off include the LG RU-42PX11 Plasma HD Monitor, and V inc. Vizio P42HD Plasma HD Monitor.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Feb 15, 2005 0 comments
HD for an SD price.

Note: the other TVs in this Face Off include the Panasonic TH-42PD25 Plasma HDTV, and LG RU-42PX11 Plasma HD Monitor.

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Joel Brinkley Posted: Nov 05, 2004 0 comments

I always look forward to reviewing a Panasonic plasma TV. While I've picked at problems with the company's CRT TVs over the years, I've never found anything but near-complete satisfaction with its plasmas. The company has its own plasma research facility in New Jersey, which I once visited, and its plasma products stand comfortably among the top rank of companies in this field.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Nov 07, 2004 Published: Nov 01, 2004 0 comments
Plasma black level is no longer an oxymoron.

In March of 2003, we had a plasma Face Off that featured eight displays. What surprised us all was that the clear winner was not the brightest, nor the one with the most resolution. In fact, of the mix of budget and midlevel 42-inch plasmas, the winner was an enhanced-definition set with the second lowest price of the bunch. It was a Panasonic, and it won for the same reason that this plasma is so good: black level.

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Peter Putman Posted: Oct 15, 2004 0 comments

If you've been following the plasma marketplace, you've surely figured out that there's a lot of product re-selling and "private labeling" these days. It's not unusual for five or more companies to be selling the same 42- or 50-inch plasma panel, albeit with different-colored trim plates and bezels. Some re-sellers even go so far as to put their own processing electronics inside, but these days, that's largely the exception to the rule. There's no end to the companies who are offering plasmas for sale, but only a handful of them actually make the things.

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Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Oct 15, 2004 Published: Oct 01, 2004 0 comments
Silver surfer.

I've recently noticed that most video companies have names that begin with letters at the end of the alphabet and most audio companies have names that start with letters at the beginning of the alphabet. Most of my theories on this are far-fetched (some involve mind control) and get me "the look" from other people whenever I share them. My need to get out more notwithstanding, perhaps it has something to do with the word "video" starting with a "V" and the word "audio" starting with an "A." If that's the case, then Vidikron not only starts with a "V," but it shares its first three letters with the word "video."

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